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These Kids Today

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These Kids Today

Postby gdurkee » Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:32 pm

It's come up with friends/colleagues of mine and in at least one book and a number of articles. Are kids or young people no longer hiking in the woods or parks or forests? I've been taking the position that "the kids are all right" and are still out hiking and backpacking. Many of us are baby boomers and so the absolute numbers of young people seems smaller today, yet I think it's the same percentage relative to total size of the cohort that's backpacking. But, today we've also got a smaller cohort. So I guess the question is do a significant number of young people (any age up to, say, 25 or so) get out and hike or ski or anything in serious terrain? I think so.

I'm seeing more scouts over the last 10+ years; probably about the same percentage of early teens (with family) and late teens, with friends.

What's your guys' experience and observation?

Just curious.

g.



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Re: These Kids Today

Postby rlown » Sat Sep 05, 2015 8:24 pm

I did see a group of about 14 women hiking up the Rafferty trail to Voglesang in 2008 as we were hiking out. I think it was a college class. They were in their early 20s'. But how do you know if they still do? Anyway, the have offered backpacking courses in college where you go on one or two overnight trips. I think I was overqualified by that time ;) Still took the class. Yuba river area was our outing. First tick i ever got.

I do admire Scout masters for taking their troops on far flung adventures. I learned the most doing that in the Winter with troop 482 (brrr), and even in the Spring at Kirby Cove. (that wasn't a hike but I was prepped for fog at 13). I haven't been out much lately, but when I am, I don't usually see anyone under 23, backcountry-wise.
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Sep 05, 2015 9:02 pm

"Extreme sports" are more popular today with the athletic portion of the young - trail running, kayaking, back country skiing, snow boarding, rock climbing, endurance feats. I think just plain backpacking may not be as appealing. The outdoors is more of a venue for athletic extremism. I do not think this is new. The only reason I went into the mountains until I was over 40 years old, was mountaineering and rock climbing. Any hiking was simply a means to get to the base of a climb and honestly, pretty boring to me.

What I see is the demise of "outing clubs" or other groups that bring young people into the wilderness. Chock that up to liability issues. Scouting seems to be doing OK, though. I have seen some very competent scouting groups in the wilderness (as well as some really ill prepared ones). I am not sure parents were the ones that introduced their kids to backpacking in the past either. My parents grew up in the depression- work was the only "value" they had. We had one 1-week vacation a year and my dad worked 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. At least they let me join a climbing club. Today, parents are even more stressed - usually both working in lower income families. Honestly, I think the internet is the "spark" that now ignites interest in backpacking in the youth.

I see a bi-modal distribution of ages in the mountains - youth (say mostly college age and pre-marriage) and we old farts who are retired. People in between are just too busy making a living and raising kids.
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby WarrenFork » Sat Sep 05, 2015 10:31 pm

I spend part of the year in Maine, and I see a greater proportion of young people on the trails there than in California. It is especially noticeable because the median age of the population there is older.

I think it is partially attributable to the high concentration of small liberal arts colleges in New England that still have active outing clubs with longstanding traditions of regular organized trips on weekends and during breaks. Students who get involved in these often get motivated to head out on their own with two or three friends. I meet a lot of backpackers from schools like Colby and Bates and Bowdoin. Most of the younger folks whose paths I cross in the Sierra are more interested in climbing, bouldering, and trail running than backpacking
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby giantbrookie » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:57 pm

I don't seem to have noticed a decline in kids in the backcountry during the last few decades. As I've mentioned before I have noticed a decline in the amount of off trail travel (of hikers of all ages) over the last 30 years or so, and what seems to be more of a concentration of hikers in the "well known" or "name brand" locations, but I don't seem to notice that the fraction of kids in the high country has declined. Most of the kids I've come across appear to have been associated with families or groups of families, but I've run into plenty of scouts, too, as well as occasional college outings.
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby ERIC » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:55 am

rlown wrote:Anyway, the have offered backpacking courses in college where you go on one or two overnight trips. I think I was overqualified by that time ;) Still took the class.


Did pretty much the same thing when I entered UCSC many years ago. Looks like they still offer the program: http://recreation.ucsc.edu/adventures-a ... index.html
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby austex » Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:46 am

CSUN Had a BP class in the late 70's. Still does too!
http://www.csun.edu/~vcrec004/151gen/lsrc151.htm
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby rlown » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:05 pm

austex wrote:CSUN Had a BP class in the late 70's. Still does too!
http://www.csun.edu/~vcrec004/151gen/lsrc151.htm


Funny.. the course number is 151! :drinkers: Start'em early i guess.
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby ERIC » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:51 pm

rlown wrote:
austex wrote:CSUN Had a BP class in the late 70's. Still does too!
http://www.csun.edu/~vcrec004/151gen/lsrc151.htm


Funny.. the course number is 151! :drinkers: Start'em early i guess.


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Re: These Kids Today

Postby rlown » Mon Sep 07, 2015 8:53 pm

So I looked up Sac State (my Alma mater) and couldn't find the class there, but it looks like the alumni group took over the cause.. I'm trying not to laugh at this point.. :^o

http://www.csus.edu/hhs/rpta/DOCUMENTS/RI_f2013_v11.pdf

The most interesting part of that silly document was this:

Capture1.JPG


Hot damn! I think most of us should get honorary degrees by that definition :)

Anyway, apart from that rant, The have pushed out to Peak Adentures for their recreational activities. So still functional. whew..

Parents are the best influence ever. If you don't have the leadership or freedom from them, you are screwed until you break free.

Russ
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Re: These Kids Today

Postby BrianF » Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:11 pm

Just got in a two day trip to Cottonwood lakes last weekend. I hiked in Sunday morning so was travelling opposite to a large number of people hiking out. The demographic of the groups I saw was pretty evenly spread over the age groups. I saw a number of old-timers like me, a few groups in their 40s-50s, Lots of people appearing to be late 20s to 30s, only one group of early 20s (but school may account for that) and a few kids with parents.
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